When younger, Gorbachev was the captain of the wrestling section of a famous university. After graduating he began working as a politician, and he carried out a wrestling international exchange program in countries around the world, serving as its supreme leader.
As the president of Russia, Gorbachev runs the largest wrestling federation in the world. Seeing Zangief's performance at the Street Fighter tournament, he wanted to offer Zangief a lucrative contract. By joining the wrestling federation, Zangief would be able to show his power, and of his country, to millions of people. Zangief agrees, and they dance Hopak with three KGB agents to celebrate Zangief's victory. Zangief became one of the main wrestler from his federation, and Zangief sees Gorbachev as his senior.
- While this character is clearly modeled after Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the USSR (1985-1991), he remained in his position, reimagined as the President of Russia, throughout all his subsequent appearances. His background as a wrestler in college, however, runs in parallel with the current real-life Russian president, Vladimir Putin, who has practiced sambo and judo since his teenage years.